Cam Newton is a polarizing character. He's a big-time NFL quarterback who throws hard, runs fast, and celebrates like no other leader does when his team scores a touchdown or wins a game. In many ways, he's exactly what a football fan would want to see out of his or her team's quarterback, and yet, his public image seems to tilt heavily toward that of a whiner, a poor sport, and showboater. Now that Newton's Carolina Panthers are in the Super Bowl, many wonder whether he'll "tone down" his persona on a national stage. He's making it pretty clear that won't be the case.
Speaking to the Charlotte Observer, the probably-soon-to-be-MVP said bluntly, "I'm an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven't seen nothing that they can compare me to."
It's a discussion that doesn't need to be about race, but it seems to be anyway, and it's hard to argue that he'd receive the same kind of criticism if he were like any white quarterback. The truth is there's just no one that possesses the kinds of skills he does. He's huge, he has a strong arm, he might be his team's best runner, and frankly, he doesn't have a single glaring weakness. That makes him terrifying on the field and apparently off the field, too.
It doesn't seem to bother him, though. Newton remarked that he could "care less what you say" about him and that "whether you win, lose or draw, people are going to talk." With a Super Bowl appearance less than two weeks away, the conversation is likely to get as loud as its ever been. That's why he's going to keep doing exactly what he's always done, for better or for worse: be him.
And no matter what happens, at least he'll always know he's a better dancer than Tom Brady.
Cover image: Wikimedia